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    Stomach Treatment Reduces Ghrelin, Limits Weight in Pigs

    Animals treated with gastric artery chemical embolization have lower ghrelin, less weight gain than controls

    MONDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Embolization of gastric arteries in swine resulted in lower levels of ghrelin -- a hormone that can stimulate food intake -- and less weight gain in following weeks compared to control animals, according to research published in the October issue of Radiology.

    Aravind Arepally, M.D., of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed data from 10 healthy pigs, half of which underwent percutaneous catheter-directed gastric artery chemical embolization with sodium morrhuate targeting the gastric fundus, which is a major source of ghrelin. The other five animals underwent a sham procedure utilizing saline. Fasting ghrelin and weight were assessed weekly for four weeks.

    In treated animals, ghrelin levels were significantly reduced from a baseline of 1,006.3 pg/mL to a mean postprocedural value of 684.3 pg/mL. In control animals, ghrelin levels rose from a baseline of 1,078 to a mean 1,104 pg/mL. After four weeks, control and treated animals had a 15.1 percent and 7.8 percent increase in weight, respectively.

    "Owing to [its] potent orexigenic effects, ghrelin has been a target for the treatment of obesity and weight loss. Although various reports of ghrelin suppression have been published, no techniques are clinically practical; these include intraventricular and large intraperitoneal delivery of agents in rats. On the basis of [various] findings, achieving low systemic ghrelin levels has become a potential strategy to control obesity and maintain weight loss," the authors write.

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